RIGHT WAY TO MULCH:
We refer to the proper method of mulching as ‘volcano’ mulching. It is ok to apply mulch a few inches thick as long as the mulch is left 4 to 6 inches away from the base of the plant. This method is shown in the photo on the right.
Proper mulching is a tremendous benefit to plants. It involves using 3 to 4 inches of a good organic product such as wood chips or shredded bark. These products break down over time, supplying trees and shrubs with added nutrients. Mulch also helps to retain soil moisture, create a protected environment for the root zone during the winter, and protect trunks from lawnmower and weed wacker damage.
WRONG WAY TO MULCH:
We call the improper method ‘pyramid’ mulching. This destructive method of pyramid mulching is shown in the photo on the right and should never be used! If mulch is applied improperly, it quite often results in the death of trees and shrubs!
You have probably seen neighboring properties which mulch piled up onto the trunks of trees. It is important to realize that even 2 inches of mulch touching the base of a tree or shrub may prove to be too much. When mulch is allowed to come into contact with the base of trees or shrubs, it traps moisture against bark. It causes the bark to become soft and spongy and allows Borers (insects which burrow into the bark and live beneath it) easier access. The Borers then feed and tunnel under the bark, and once they girdle the tree, it dies.
Remember…PILE MULCH HIGH, YOUR TREE MAY DIE!
Our landscaper piled the mulch onto the trunks of our trees. We assumed that they knew what they were doing. Shouldn’t they know better than that?
We’ve piled mulch up against our tree trunks for years. Why then haven’t we lost any trees yet?